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Hope in the Heartland

(Editors note: This is the second in a series leading to Easter.)

Pastor of Peabody Bible Church

Noise drifted from the city, and the soldier tilted his head. The death walk had begun and would soon end where he stood. He looked down at the three vertical beams that awaited the men being driven out of the city and up the hill. Three large nails were beside each rough timber. A smile spread across his weathered face as he imagined the condemned men staggering up the hill with their own crossbeams on their backs.

He knew that, in addition to nails, if he used rope to tie the men’s arms just right it could extend their suffering a couple of days on the cross before they eventually died.

Thinking of an extended stay caused him to glance around for the heavy iron mallet that could be used to break the legs of the men on the cross. After those bones had been snapped by a few hard blows, the reprieve of death would quickly appear. Then the buzzards can have them, he thought.

“Isn’t it funny how rapidly a few hours on the cross changes a man?” He lifted the mallet for the other soldiers and bystanders to see. “They come here begging us not to kill them and then later they plead with us to let them die.”

“Irony caused by agony,” another soldier answered.

The soldiers laughed and pointed toward the group heading their way.

Their fate is not my fault, he had told his wife long ago.

To be continued …

Last modified Jan. 20, 2010

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